Reflections and Action


For the past two weeks I’ve been exploring my emotions, hence my absence from the blogging world. It has been an exhausting process.

Sometimes when I write, the words seem to get in the way and can come across as distant and somewhat contrived. Consequently this alienates my reader. I think this happens when I try too hard. I put myself under too much pressure to be perfect because I want writing success. I want to be published.

After a brisk walk and a chat with the local horses, I decided to take a break from my WIP, switched off my inbuilt thesaurus and went back to basics in order to explore ‘feelings’. How do I make my reader feel what the characters are feeling? I am ‘showing’ but detracting the reader with too many unnecessary words and being too vague.

I have paced the living room floor talking to myself. Asking: how do I feel when I’m angry? What happens to my face? How does my body react? How does my voice change?  I asked similar questions about other emotions such as fear, sadness, joy, love and jealousy. I then sat down and wrote short paragraphs about personal experiences of each emotion, stopping and scribbling out words that were too vague or complicated.  

Even though I side tracked from my WIP, I’ve enjoyed practising and completing these exercises. I don’t find it easy to embrace my own emotions and realise that in order to continue to progress in writing, I need to break down a few barriers.   

Do you do writing exercises alongside your WIPs? Do you find it difficult to dig deep and explore your own emotions?   

Comments

  1. I live in the world of emotions. I've been exploring them for years, trying to figure out why I was so unhappy. Sounds like a really good exercise for you. One thing I've tried is to imagine I'm a eavesdropping the scene. Good luck, Nic

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  2. i am not a writer but I think one would have to delve deep in order to give the emotions you wish to convey. You are always putting a little of yourself into the written material

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    1. That's right, Birgit and it's not easy. I find I put up so many barriers to protect myself. Time to face my fears :)

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  3. I've probably done the same, although I didn't have horse to go look at. Sounds nice:)

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    1. The nice thing is, Mark, the horse neighs nice things back :)

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  4. I used to use flash fiction as a writing exercise when working on a WIP. I also sometimes act scenes out before I commit them to paper. I find even saying dialogue back and forth to myself helps.

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    1. I've been doing a bit of acting during the process too, Cherie. Just the motion of taking off a heavy back pack - which arms do I use, how do I do it and so on. It's a lot of fun.

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  5. Some of my manuscripts are more emotional than others. With some, I take a recent emotion or something that I need to get rid of with cathartic writing. I'd like to do more writing exercises since I don't do too many.

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    1. I think we just get tied up with the WIP and forget that we need to practise. It's like piano. A profi doesn't just learn a piece. He or she also practises their scales and finger exercises.Have a great week, Medeia. Thanks for popping by.

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  6. An excellent writing exercise. I play a lot of what ifs with my characters to get to know them better and play out scenes in my head.

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Christine. Great to see you! Have a lovely weekend.

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  7. I hear what you're saying. I keep telling myself what I'm missing is bold honesty. I am stifling myself by thinking too much, worrying about the sales end. As a reader, I love stories that move me. Those kind pull me in far faster than the stories with perfect prose that follow all the rules. I think as writers, we should pause every now and then and remember what it's like to be a reader. And get in touch with our emotions, like you said.

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    1. Exactly! It's always nice to hear someone else shares the same difficulty from time to time. Have a great weekend, Elizabeth and thanks for stopping by.

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  8. What a great way to try and get in touch with your emotions. I need to walk around the living room a little more. I could also use some horses to talk to when I need an opinion on how to proceed with a story.

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    1. Thanks for popping over, Susan. Lovely to 'see' you. I'm not really a horse person but the local horses have swiflty become my 'sounding out' buddies :)

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  9. Whenever I hav e to write a chatacter's emotional state, I always sit back and think about what happens to me physically when I feel the same way. It's a great exercise.

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    1. Thank you for commenting Chrys. Have a lovely weekend.

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  10. It must have been tiring to do all the emotions at once! I tend to act out how my character is feeling - I do this in the comfort of my own home, mostly, but sometimes I forget I'm in a coffee shop and do it there too. It definitely helps. Getting back to basics is a great idea!

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    1. It was exhausting Annalisa. It must be great fun at your coffee shop! :) Have a lovely weekend.

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  11. These are AWESOME questions to ask. Hell to the yeah, girl!

    And you know, it takes a real writer to step back and take the initiative on writing more than pretty prose. But writing real characters. I see this going very well for you.

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    1. Thanks so much CG! I'm trying :) Have a great weekend!

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  12. Sometimes I'm not in the right frame of mind to write a particular scene, so leave it and come back. I try to recall the nearest I've been to what a character is experiencing to give me an idea of how they feel, but it's important to write their emotions and not mine.

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  13. I tend to hand write all my emotional stuff in a notebook, then commit it to the screen later, as I find I can dig deeper, and burrow down through the layers to the really good stuff.

    I do exercises alongside my WIP, such as interviewing my main characters, I find this especially useful as you never really know what they are going to say, and it often uncovers stuff you can use.
    I've also done exercises where I've set a scene, as description is something I'm not too clever with, and I find it really helps.

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    1. I like the idea of interviewing your characters. I'll have to try that. Thanks for sharing, Maria.

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  14. I thank that everyone should take a step back from their WIP from time to time and have the courage to look at some of the things they know aren't quite right. Your writing will be all the better for it, I'm sure. It's hard to write emotional scenes without them seeming contrived. Sometimes less is more.

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Wendy. Have a lovely week.

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  15. That sounds like a great exercise. I remember one writer saying she would occasionally jump up from her desk and run to the mirror to study her own expressions to be able to describe them. Only fellow writers would get what you're going through!

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    1. I tend to run away from the mirror :) Thanks for popping by, Stephanie. Have a good week.

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  16. I've never been a "writing exercise" person. I either write or I don't. When I don't I feel a little empty. I do understand the pacing. In fact, I smiled reading your post.

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    1. Aaww thank you, Lee.I like to make people smile :) Have a lovely week and thank you for popping by to read my blog.

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  17. I love that you had a chat with the horses and I've pulled faces at myself in front of the mirror too, Nicola. I love Maria's idea of interviewing characters. xx

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    1. Thank you for popping by to comment, Teresa. So glad Dusty is feeling better.

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  18. I don't do writing exercises. I pull out my book The Emotion Thesaurus. Such a fabulous resource.

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    1. Just looked it up. That's on my to buy quick list :) I'd never heard of it before. Fab tip. Thank you Donna.

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  19. I haven't done that but it sounds useful. We all have to make sure emotions come across convincingly.

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    1. Thanks for popping by, Nick! I hope you are feeling better and making a good recovery. You've been in our thoughts!

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